Hello, hello! I don’t normally pop in on Sundays, but coming back from a week’s vacation I just have so much to share.
I have another entire Orlando Eats + Trip Highlights post to cover, but before I even get there I wanted to highlight a wonderful dinner Scott and I went out to on Friday night in Tampa.
I also don’t usually dedicate an entire post to cover one restaurant, but this one really is unlike an other I have visited before. So I am.
When Scott mentioned his desire to eat at Bern’s Steakhouse earlier that week, we followed suit to celebrate a special birthday with a family I spent a lot of time with in college.
Happy Birthday, Stephanie!
(And to all of you mommies reading this today, Happy Mother’s Day!)
Bern’s Steakhouse (Tampa, Florida)
Due to the popularity of the restaurant, we were only able to get a reservation for a late dinner at 9 p.m. We arrived right on time and noticed a strict dress code when we got there. It’s a good thing we left our shorts and sandals at home!
The lobby was very enchanting and the whole ambiance of the place reminded me of something straight out of a movie. They have a few different dinning rooms, and we were placed in the Bronze Room, which we all agreed seemed very Haunted Mansion-esque.
The seating arrangements and decorations reminded me of cruise ship dining, and the service staff was very efficient, knowledgeable, and welcoming.
As soon as we sat, Scott intently read the menu and kept it around and on the side of dinner throughout the night. It looked like a book full of information and beyond the detailed descriptions of the menu items, it shared the history about the restaurant, where their products come from (a local Bern’s farm!), and the Bern’s family.
Separately bound, there was an additional book of wine that shocked us all when we read the range of price in their selection!
Holy geez, double magnum.
We ordered a standard (more cost efficient) bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon, skipped the appetizers, and went on to a table of dinner classics.
Each meal came with the house salad or option to get a casear, prepared table side. I thought that was pretty neat.
Since Scott had been wanting to visit Bern’s for years, he went all out and ordered the Surf and Turf with lobster and delmonico steak.
I rarely eat red meat, but when I do, it’s at a steakhouse.
I went with a small 6 oz. filet that came with the standard sides of onion rings (yum!) and two fresh vegetables of the day.
The pictures really don’t do the food justice here. The steak was great, but the carrots and collared greens were amazing!
Dinner was absolutely delicious, but I think we were all more excited for what was in store afterwards.
Kitchen + Wine Cellar Tour
What makes Bern’s a unique dining experience is getting to see what goes on behind the scenes. You can choose to take a tour of the kitchen before or after dinner, and once we started learning about everything we decided we should have done so prior to eating.
It was still neat to hear about how every ingredient and menu item gets there, and what it takes to make the restaurant run smoothly.
With all of the tours going through, the kitchen has to be in tip-top shape at all times. We saw all of the stations and learned about what makes this kitchen different, including a cheese cave stocked with a wide variety of artisanal cheeses and an in-kitchen bar.
I thought it was interesting to find out that (besides in the lounge area) all dinner drinks ordered come directly from bartenders inside the kitchen! I didn’t get a picture of it, but quickly got over that when we went passed it and entered the ginormous chilled wine cellar.
This was just one of the many, many, many rows of wine organized and stocked for the restaurant.
Bern’s wine cellar and collection is one of the largest in the world housing over half a million bottles!
We could have spent hours in there hearing about the stories of the family and where certain bottles came from. Instead, we moved the party upstairs for another fun area of the restaurant.
Harry Waugh Dessert Room
Besides the wonderful steaks, Bern’s is most famously known for it’s Dessert Room. Some people choose to end their night here, while others just pop in and head upstairs for after-dinner drinks and dessert.
The atmosphere is dark and romantic, filled with wine barrels that serve as individual, private booths.
Each booth is equipped with it’s own stereo system, and provides a telephone to guests to be able to call and request songs to the pianist.
The Dessert Room was created to serve as a place to relax and enjoy conversations over dessert. There are nearly fifty dessert choices, on top of a wide variety of dessert wines and specialty spirits.
We had a different waiter for upstairs, and both of them recommended the cappuccino Bern’s Steak House.
It was a pricey drink, so I ordered it as my dessert while Scott ordered the table side Bananas Foster. Anything prepared right in front of you makes it seem ten times cooler, right?
Once again, my dimly lit pictures don’t make the food look one tenth as good as it tasted.
Mmm. It was so warm, fresh and unbelievably good.
We all left the place overly-full but happy to have experienced such a unique dining atmosphere. If any of you are close to the Tampa area and are in search of a nice dinner and stories to come with, I highly recommend Bern’s!
All right. I better get back to my day of playing catch up, and I hope you all enjoy the rest of your weekend.
See you in the morning!